Boston Priest Sex Abuse Suit Settled for $10 Million

A suit involving 86 victims of sexual abuse by defrocked Boston priest John Geoghan was settled in court last week for $10 million. The settlement is much less than a previously negotiated $15 million to $30 million deal that the Boston Archdiocese backed out of in May, and victims groups are concerned that it will set a low standard for settlements in future cases against abusive priests.

Geoghan is currently serving a nine- to 10-year prison sentence for fondling a 10-year-old boy in a swimming pool in the early 1990s, and has been accused of molesting more than 130 children since the 1980s. Although the statute of limitations has passed for many of these cases, Geoghan will face additional charges for sexually abusing minors, according to the Boston Globe.

The $10 million settlement will be divided among the victims based on the degree of abuse. The Boston Archdiocese issued no formal apology as part of the settlement, despite the fact that several high-ranking church officials, including Cardinal Bernard F. Law, transferred Geoghan from parish to parish knowing that he was accused of pedophilia. Though there has been a public outcry for Cardinal Law to resign due to his severe mishandling of Geoghan’s case as well as many others, Law has repeatedly refused.


Boston Globe 1/15/02, 9/20/02; Washington Post 9/20/02

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